The Interaction of Anxiety, Stress, and Family Functioning in Families of Young Children with a Chronic Illness

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Boyce, Molly Klein
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Middle Tennessee State University
The current study investigated the relationship between child behavior, parent anxiety, and family functioning in families with young children with a chronic illness compared to those with healthy children. Participants included 30 parents who completed questionnaires assessing parent, child, and family factors. Results indicate a difference between the chronic illness and healthy groups for child somatization, child withdrawal, parent anxiety, and parent stress. Additionally, for the full sample, significant correlations were found between parent anxiety and child internalizing behaviors, but not for externalizing behaviors. Within the chronic illness group, parent anxiety was significantly correlated with child anxiety, but it was not for the healthy group. Finally, within the chronic illness group, an increase in the frequency of role function and medical care activities was associated with higher parent anxiety. These data further demonstrate the complexity of dynamics in the lives of families with a young child with a chronic illness.
Anxiety, Children, Chronic illness, Family functioning